There are a lot of people who have a tendency to ignore signs that their body is going through a tough time. Often when people spit blood in the sink, they assume that the cause is an innocuous one, or when they feel a sharp pain in their chest, they ignore loved ones advising them to pay their doctor a visit.
If you don’t have a history of health issues it’s very easy to become complacent and believe that there’s nothing wrong you. However, the truth is, there is a very real chance that whatever is showing up on your body or causing you discomfort could be the symptom of a life-threatening illness. Often patients of aggressive diseases are embarrassed by their symptoms, either because they appear on intimate body parts or because they are wary about showing a professional for fear of being judged. And while it should already be evident, these professionals will likely have seen numerous variants of the symptoms that the patient is displaying. When a mom from California, named Kari Cummins, found an unusual mark on her chin, she had no idea what it was but assumed it was harmless. She had never experienced any serious issues with her skin before so this seemed to be the most plausible explanation. “I have always had clear skin so I did think that the spot was slightly unusual,” she said. “I assumed it was a blackhead or a weird type of adult acne, as I hadn’t seen anything like that before. It didn’t take Kari long to realize that there was something peculiar about this spot, it just wouldn’t go away. So the 35-year-old mom decided to book an appointment with a dermatologist, but wasn’t expecting this shocking outcome. As it turned out, despite the deceptive appearance of having clear and healthy skin, what Kari had subjected her skin to after years of using tanning beds was slowly killing her. “I have fair skin, and I did use tanning beds in my twenties and early thirties to get a base tan before going on holiday,” Kari explained. As any doctor will advise, anyone with very fair skin who lives in a sunny climate, should take proper precautions when it comes to their skin. However, Kari, who lives in California, was intentionally subjecting herself to superficial UV rays and in doing so, was inflicting her body with a pernicious growth of cancerous cells.
“I wasn’t a frequent user, and only used them occasionally, but I’ve learnt that it doesn’t take much for the UV rays to accelerate the growth of the carcinoma, especially if you have fair skin.”
Kari realized she would be shooting herself in the foot if she didn’t have the mark on her chin checked out by professionals. Especially as she had urged her own mother to visit a skin specialist when she had some worrying symptoms of her own. Unfortunately, the dermatologist was unable to alleviate her concerns because the cause of the mark on her face was actually very serious. “I had a few raised bumps and scabs on my face and so biopsies were taken,” Kari revealed, “that’s when I found out that they were potentially cancerous.”
After a number of tests were taken during the dermatologist appointment, doctors discovered the she had quamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer which could potentially have spread to her other organs if it hadn’t have been treated soon enough. The stay-at-home mom may have subjected her skin to dangerous UV rays in her twenties and thirties, but as it turns out, the natural sunlight she had been exposed to in her youth also had a detrimental effect on her skin. “I also grew up by a lake and I spent a lot of time in the sun,” she revealed. “I don’t think that helped either.” Kari underwent surgery so that the cancerous growths, which were in her forehead as well as her chin, could be removed. When the they were removed, she was left with a large hole in her chin.
“If I hadn’t have had it removed when I did then the chances are it would have grown larger and deeper into the tissue and could have spread. Thankfully they were non melanoma, but I still had to get them surgically removed. The lump on my chin was like an underground blackhead, and when that was removed I couldn’t believe what I had been left with. The one on my forehead didn’t affect me, the scars healed really fast, however the one on my chin was a lot worse and I felt self-conscious for quite a while.” The healing process was arduous in itself, after the cancerous cells were removed, a number of stitches were needed to close the large hole.
“It took 35 stitches to close up the hole and it took weeks to heal, I have now been left with a scar that is very noticeable on my face. At first I felt very self-conscious, but now I find it empowering as I can use my experiences to share my story in the hope of urging others that it is so important to look after your skin.” It goes without saying, but aggressive forms of skin cancer such as quamous cell carcinoma, are easily avoided if the right precautions are taken. Kari Cummins exposed herself to a deadly dose of UV rays and her future could have looked very different if she hadn’t have visited professionals to reverse the years of damage. We wish Kari the very best for her recovery and hope that her story has informed people that subjecting their bodies to UV rays can have very serious consequences.
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